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Police Obtain Warrant to Search Alleged White House Gunman's Home

Aired February 7, 2001 - 4:53 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, earlier in our program we talked to Melinda Roeder from our affiliate in Evansville, Indiana. She was on the lawn of the home which is believed to be owned by Robert Pickett, the suspect in today's White House incident. Let's go back now to Ms. Roeder for an update on what's happening there.

Melinda, can you hear us.

MELINDA ROEDER, WTVW CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I can.

FRAZIER: What's going on?

ROEDER: Well, at this point, police have obtained a search warrant and they are searching the home of Robert Pickett and what they are looking for especially are computer files, any computer disks, software that might prove to be valuable.

Police officers here one the scene tell me that Robert Pickett was in the office of Congressman John Hostettler just in the past few weeks, and at that time he was complaining and making threats regarding the IRS. We have tried to call Congressman Hostettler's office and we were told that they've been asked by capital police not to comment on this manner. But local police do confirm that Pickett was there in that office making complaints.

So, the reason they do want those computer files is to see if he's made any written complaints that he may have mailed to anyone in particular with the IRS. We have seen police officers bringing out several boxes of possible evidence at this point. They're still conducting search. So, they're not giving any word to the media yet to confirm what they have found in his house.

When they did first start the search, though, they did ask all of the media to step about a half a street block away from the home. They were concerned, as precautionary measure, that there could be some explosives in the home. And after they got into the house, of course, they found none that were in immediate danger, so they asked -- the media could come back over toward the home.

We keep hearing from neighbors that they're completely shocked about his. A lot of neighbors are their way home now from work. They've gotten home from school, gotten home from their jobs. They're just now hearing that it was their neighbor who was involved in this incident, who was the gunman there in Washington, D.C., and a lot of them say they're just really surprised by this because Pickett always seemed like a quiet man and who knew this could happen.

FRAZIER: Even if he did complain to his neighbors about the IRS, that's something that most people discount as just sort of background noise, I guess, Ms. Roeder. We did talk to one neighbor, just a couple doors down, only four houses away who'd never met Robert Pickett. Does that strike you as unusual?

ROEDER: Not at all, because I've been hearing even from next door neighbors that Pickett was very quiet. He lived by himself, hardly every came outside and when he did, it was usually just to check his mail. Occasionally he would say hello to a neighbor, but really never got into any conversations with any neighbors.

A lot of them knew he was a CPA, but they didn't know where or when he had worked for any firm in town. We have been able to confirm, however, that he did work for a local firm. He was recently fired, and he worked there with his father as well. But other than this, we understand he was involved some lawsuits with the IRS and that is something also that neighbors tell me they find shocking.

FRAZIER: All right, Ms. Roeder, thank you for that update from the lawn of Robert Pickett's home in Evansville, Indiana

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